It’s been a whole week since HRH entered the world, so I thought it only right that I share his wonderful birth story with you all today. I’m still thinking up a blog alias for him, but for now HRH seems to work on quite a few levels!
I spent my due date feeling utterly rotten; I was holed up in bed, hot water bottle on my chest, barely able to speak. I prayed that Peppercorn wouldn’t decide to arrive, as there was no way I was in a fit state to look after Busby, let alone give birth… So when I woke up the following day (Tuesday 23rd June) completely healthy and full of beans, I knew his arrival would be imminent.
I began having surges about 8.30am while eating breakfast in bed with Busby. Not wanting to overreact or get too excited, I told Nick to head into work as “they were probably nothing”. I downloaded an app to track the surges, as felt like they were perhaps starting to become regular…
At 9.30am I called Nick and told him to come home – the surges were becoming more regular; lasting 60 seconds and were between 2-4 minutes apart. I also called my in-laws and asked them to come and pick Busby up (after texting them earlier to say I wouldn’t need any help today as was feeling better!!!).
Nick called the Midwife for me when he got home as I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to talk through the surges, and we were told that the Community Midwife I’d been seeing since we moved would be coming over to check me. We had excellent rapport and she was all for Home Birth, so I was very glad she would be birthing my baby! By this point the surges were ramping up and I was putting my Hypnobirthing breathing to good use, whilst leaning up against our larder door! Nick and Busby put up the birthing pool in preparation!
Our lovely Midwife was with us swiftly and examined me. As soon as I lay down on the sofa my surges calmed down, and although my cervix was favourable, she didn’t think I was in established labour yet. She thought Peppercorn would be here that evening, but to try and conserve my energy. She left to book another home birth, and told us to call her when she thought I was ready.
In the meantime, Busby was picked up, the gas meter man arrived and then the IKEA delivery men dropped off our order… as soon as all these tasks were out of the way, my surges ramped up again and I found myself up against the larder door once more. After being sick, I managed some toast and water, and Nick and I decided to watch an episode of Downton Abbey. By this point I was changing positions every few minutes; kneeling backwards and forwards on the birthing ball, and using Nick to lean on and do the “birth dance” through surges. I felt it was time to get the Midwife back, so she was called and he started filling up the pool.
She arrived about 12.30 and, although I wouldn’t let her examine me, she confirmed I was in established labour. She called for the second Midwife immediately. I started to go through transition – shaking with adrenalin, but remaining calm, mooing the f-word through each very powerful surge. My waters still hadn’t broken, but I could feel them bulging as I squatted… I kept saying to the Midwives and Nick “I just need my waters to break, then he’ll be here.”
Oh, how right I was!
I was finally allowed in the water, and wow, it felt amazing! I was weightless, and my surges calmed – I felt so comfortable and safe, and spent a while enjoying the warmth and floating. The Midwives suggested kneeling, using the side of the pool to lean on. As soon as I changed position we were back in business, and I felt the urge to push – I could tell the Midwives didn’t think I was ready, but Nick whispered “Do what your body wants” so I pushed and POP! my waters broke… “Something just popped!” I exclaimed (My mind not processing this properly thought the Baby’s head had just exploded!!!) and I felt an overwhelming urge to continue pushing. I could feel his head arriving, and he had so much hair that again my crazy mind went into overdrive I thought I must be birthing a bear!
I moved back into sitting position in the pool, and pushed, his little hobbit ears were a bit stuck but the rest of him came very quickly, with me guiding him into the world with my hands… before I knew it I was holding our newest family member.
Henry Rupert Harding was born at 14.31 BST, at 40 weeks + 1, after an established labour of two hours, and only six minutes after my waters broke. His birth was the most amazing, empowering experience of my life.
I didn’t have any pain relief (the thought didn’t even cross my mind!) and I received a very small graze, which I thought was pretty amazing for an 8lb 7oz baby! The Midwives both commented on how calm I was throughout (“You didn’t really need us here at all!”); I am not a calm person by nature, and the Hypnobirthing breathing and all the positive birthing preparation I’d done prior to the birth really helped keep me in the zone. Nick was also pretty fabulous throughout – keeping me focused, and talking to the Midwives on my behalf.
He was also able to cut the cord (after it had stopped pulsating), which is something he missed out on after Busby was born.
My placenta took an hour to arrive, which I delivered on the (very covered) sofa after two pushes… It was still fully intact except for a small hole where Henry had entered from! I found it all quite fascinating as the Midwife talked us through it.
Then it was time for tea, cake and cuddles!
The whole Home Birth experience was utterly amazing – I felt so relaxed and at ease in our house, and the lack of intervention and the consistency of the Midwives added to the safe, calm environment.
I trusted and believed my body could do it, and as a result I completely achieved the birth I wanted; it was so positive, so beautiful and just the perfect experience.